• β-Adrenergic antagonists taken orally adversely alter plasma lipid profiles. This study was designed to determine whether 0.5% topical timolol maleate has a similar effect. Forty volunteers who were not using medications known to alter plasma lipid levels were recruited for an unmasked study in which each subject served as his or her own control. Twelve subjects did not complete the study because of ocular and systemic side effects or extraneous factors. Twenty-eight subjects used topical timolol for an average of 76 days, with two 12-hour fasting plasma specimens obtained at the beginning and end of the period. Mean total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels did not change significantly with treatment. Triglyceride values increased 12%; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels decreased 9%; and the total cholesterol-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio increased 8%. Higher baseline high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were associated with larger reductions in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels of this magnitude have been estimated to increase the risk of coronary artery disease by 21%.
Coleman AL, Diehl DLC, Jampel HD, Bachorik PS, Quigley HA. Topical Timolol Decreases Plasma High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Level. Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(9):1260-1263. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070110076028